Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry
- Varying motivation plagues NBA teams heading into the All-Star break, which is something savvy bettors can use to their advantage.
- Using Bet Labs, we found a profitable trend NBA bettors need to know.
The NBA All-Star break begins on Friday. Players have varying levels of motivation in the final games before the break as they look forward to time off, making handicapping games difficult.
Given the uncertainty, I used Bet Labs to analyze how favorites, home teams and betting against the public has performed before the All-Star break.
The data below includes all games played on Wednesday and Thursday before the break, when most teams play their last games, since 2005:
The results are mixed as favorites and home teams have winning records but bettors would be breaking even wagering on them. To find an edge I looked at opponent data, specifically teams playing on a back-to-back.
The NBA has taken steps to reduce the number of games played in consecutive days as players are more likely to suffer injuries playing two games in two nights. But with an 82-game schedule, teams are still forced into back-to-backs.
The league likes to schedule back-to-backs before the All-Star break as the extended rest over the weekend should give players time to recover. This creates an opportunity for savvy bettors.
If there was ever a time for a team with tired legs to mail it in, the last game before a vacation seems like a great spot.
Since 2005, betting against an opponent on a back-to-back in the last games before the All-Star break has gone 77-52-3 (59.7%) against the spread (ATS). This strategy has been .500 or better ATS in 11 of the past 14 seasons.
Below are the games that match this system on Wednesday and Thursday. The * denotes the team on a back-to-back.
- Detroit Pistons at Boston Celtics* (Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. ET
- New York Knicks vs. Philadelphia 76ers* (Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. ET)
- Chicago Bulls vs. Memphis Grizzlies* (Wednesday, 8 p.m. ET)
- Portland Trail Blazers vs. Golden State Warriors* (Wednesday, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
- Atlanta Hawks vs. New York Knicks* (Thursday, 8 p.m. ET)